The 2010s saw home cooks get increasingly creative with low-carb alternatives to conventional produce. Courgetti was the first fashionable carbohydrate-imposter, and now, cauliflower rice and cauliflower gnocchi are gathering a bit of buzz.
In this piece, we’ll explain what cauliflower rice is and how it became popular. Next, we’ll look at cauliflower rice’s health benefits – and the health downsides. Finally, we’ll see which is better for overall health and balance: cauliflower rice, or regular cauliflower.
What is cauliflower rice?
Cauliflower rice is a head of cauliflower grated into rice-sized pieces. You can make it by hand or with a food processer.
Why is cauliflower rice popular?
Cauliflower rice legend holds that cauliflower rice was invented in 1988 by chef Ben Ford (as in, son of Harrison; the force is strong with this low-carb swap!).1
The 2010s saw low-carb diets, like keto and paleo, increase in popularity – and that’s when cauliflower rice became a culinary star. Cauliflower is structurally sound enough to become a pizza crust, gnocchi, and rice, as it holds its shape well. Because of this, cauliflower is the most favoured cruciferous vegetable to transform into traditionally carb-rich foodstuffs.
Cauliflower rice health benefits
Cauliflower is a delicious and nutritious vegetable. These are some of its main benefits for health and wellness:
Cauliflower contains about 10% of your daily allowance of fibre.2 High fibre diets are linked to lower instances of heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes, and gastric disorders.3
Cauliflower has a high antioxidant content, to help your body reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which decreases cancer risk.4
Choline is a rare mineral which helps the brain, pancreas, nervous systems and liver function properly.5
Why cauliflower rice could be bad for you
Cauliflower rice is rarely bad for you when consumed in moderation. However, these are some of the potential risks it posesses:
Inhibits iodine absorption
Eating cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower all day every day can stop your body from absorbing iodine, and affect the ability to release hormones.6
Gas and bloating
People who frequently suffer from gas will typically experience more when they eat foods rich in the raffinose compound, including cauliflower.7
Interfere with Warfarin
Cauliflower’s high Vitamin K could make it negatively impact the efficacy of the blood-thinning medication.8
Cauliflower rice vs regular cauliflower
Cauliflower and cauliflower rice can support you in any weight loss goals, as an average 124g portion is only 29 calories.9 You’ll benefit from the nutritional benefits of cauliflower whether you consume it in rice or standard form.
However, if you want to enjoy cauliflower rice for health benefits, prepare and eat it as soon as it’s ready. The smaller you cut vegetables, the more you decrease their nutrient content and accelerate decay.10
Last updated: 19 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal